Friday, November 3, 2017

'Bright Star' lights up the house in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson

The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles is the perfect venue for a beautifully staged "Bright Star," with a bluegrass

band on stage, and a full pit orchestra in the traditional place below.  The show is spectacularly staged. 


Carmen Cusack's lovely leading lady role makes the
audience laugh -- and cry -- in "Bright Star." 
The actress played the role of Alice on Broadway.


and courtesy Ahmanson Theatre

IF THERE IS anything Steve Martin can't do, he has yet to reveal it.

Cookie and Keller enjoy opening weekend

at the Ahmanson for "Bright Star."

 Writers-composers Steve Martin, Edie Brickell and director Walter Bobbie.
Fans of "Bright Star" arrange their own photo shoot with
the billboard in front of Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre.
Versatile California born actor, writer, juggler, comic, musician and composer, Martin, and his friend and collaborator Edie Brickell are delighted to bring their musical, “Bright Star,” back to the West Coast.
It opened here years ago in our part-time stomping grounds, at San Diego's Old Globe.
After revising and reworking parts of the musical's storyline, Martin and Brickell took their project to Broadway.  In 2016, it picked up a half-dozen Tony nominations then went back to the drawing board.
NOW IT it is finely tuned, a wonderful, rapturous production,  reaping standing ovations at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, where we have happily booked season tickets for years.
The production is stellar, just holding the line at melodrama, avoiding cliche because of Martin's clever turns of phrase, subtle direction  and fabulous actors including many of the Broadway cast.
Eugene Lee’s inventive scenic design puts bluegrass musicians front and center in a beautifully lit movable wooden cabin.
THAT SETS the tone for banjo player Martin's musical, set in North Carolina. Lighting design by Japhy Weideman enhances the magical realism of the story.
Martin first made a name for himself as an irreverent comic -- he told me years ago that his mediocre juggling at Knotts Berry Farm brought him into comedy. "My boss said, 'Kid, you're not much of a juggler, but you're very funny."
Ahmanson Theatre goers are reveling in the reincarnated
"Bright Star," by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. After
several reworkings, Martin says the musical's time has come.
He shows another side of his talent in musical theater, with the bluegrass music of "Bright Star." “Love Has Come for You,” the Grammy-winning album he collaborated on with Brickell,  stops the show and fabulous banjo, mandolin, bass and fiddle music have the audience tapping its collective toe.
Cusack is mesmerizing in the lead, reprising her Tony-nominated performance as Alice Murphy, whose bittersweet tale the musical tells. 
SHE CRACKS WISE, breaks hearts and exudes charm and wit, with a gorgeous voice. Backing her is a top-notch cast, all dancers and singers in rare form and believable spanning the story's 25-year sweep.
We wouldn't have missed last weekend's opening.  The show is touring, so see it when you can.
Said Martin in an interview, “I’m excited, because since we did it in San Diego, which played very well, we have significantly changed the show,” Martin said. “Things going in, things coming out."
He says he has a "secret belief that the time is now ripe for ‘Bright Star’ in Los Angeles.""What's it about?" my sisters asked. "Love, loss and redemption," I said.  "Is there anything else?"

Lake Sioux Charley in summer glory on a hike before
the leaves began to turn this past summer
UP NEXT:  We take you to Sioux Charley in Montana.....splendors on the Stillwater in Montana's Beartooth Mountains. Come visit, near our home on the range, as we climb a spectacular gorge by the source of the Stillwater River, near Nye, Montana. Here, the skies are (almost) not cloudy all day. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for each weekend's post, a fresh look at nature, the arts, travel and family.


  1. Fabulous play and fun report. We are seeing it a second time Thanksgiving weekend.

  2. We met you two lovebirds in Provence and are now fans and followers of your wanderings. All so much fun to read and view.

  3. Bonjourno to you. What fun to meet and spend time with you on the Brilliance.